MANILA - Malacañang on Monday blamed the communist New People’s Army for the fatal shooting of 9 sugar farmers at a farm in Negros Occidental last Saturday.
The fatalities, all members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), were eating dinner inside tents at Hacienda Nene in Sagay town when they were shot dead.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said government investigation appeared to point to the NPA as the perpetrators behind the massacre.
“Lumalabas sa imbestigasyon ay mga grupo ng CPP-NPA sapagka’t iyong mga biktima at saka iyong mga nandoon, nakilala nila iyong mga ibang naroroon sa … iyong gumawa ng pag-massacre. Pangalawa, tila sila ay mayroong threat doon sa grupong iyon,” Panelo told RMN.
(Investigation revealed that the CPP-NPA could be behind the massacre, because the survivors and witnesses were able to identify them. The group was also supposedly threatened by the NPA.)
“Whatever the reasons may be, ang nakikita sa imbestigasyon ay iyong CPP-NPA ang nasa likod ng massacre.”
(Whatever the reasons may be, the investigation showed that the CPP-NPA was behind the massacre.)
Panelo did not cite his source of information, but Philippine National Police Western Visayas director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said the police are looking into possible rebel involvement in the massacre.
CLAIM VS NPA ‘INCREDULOUS’
Umbrella militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) condemned the government’s tagging of the NPA as the brains behind the massacre.
“We find incredulous the PNP's initial claim that the killings were perpetrated by the NPA to embarrass the Philippine government. This allegation is bereft of any proof nor actual motive,” Bayan said in a statement.
“The PNP is again trying to push the discredited ‘destabilization’ tale as the motive for the massacre. Why are the landlords and private armies not on the list of suspects as they are the ones opposed to the presence of farmers in the hacienda?”
Bayan said there should be no “cover-up” in the investigation of the massacre.
“The probe should be swift and must bring the perpetrators to justice. The manner by which the killing was committed points to impunity on the part of the perpetrators. Victims were shot and even burned. The message the killers were trying to send was that land rights had no place in that hacienda,” Bayan said.
Bayan said the state is ultimately responsible for creating a climate where “activism and fighting for human rights is treated as political destabilization, sedition and rebellion.”
“We call on the Filipino people to stand with the farmers of Negros and other regions who are facing political repression and violence both from the state and the landed elite.”